While the conference seems to have turned into quarterback shootouts one after the other, Alabama are heading in a different direction, relying on what might be the best defense in the nation to shut out their opponents and make up for their offense, led by a sluggish A.J. McCarron, being a lot less impressive than it was last season.
McCarro was only 25-of-32 for 180 yards with an interception as Alabama shut out Ole Miss 25-0, their ninth shut out victory over the last five seasons, more than anyone else in College Football.
However, despite McCarron doing so badly in what was another less than convincing display from the Alabama offense, holding Ole Miss to only 46 yards on the ground and making Bo Wallace finish with a QBR of 15.2, including getting sacked in the endzone for a safety, meant their win was never really in doubt.
Alabama didn’t really race ahead to win this one, leading 9-0 by the end of the first half and 16-0 as we entered the fourth quarter, but the Rebels had only 11 first down in the entire game, and converted only 36% of their third down situations. It’s one thing being able to slow down the national champions, but you have to score against them a little bit to force them and get out of their defensive comfort zone.
They totally took it to us. We did not have answers to what they were doing to us defensively. We gave up some explosive plays, which you can’t do. They had the right call every single time, it seemed like. Not what I anticipated happening tonight. Our bread and butter, they stopped it. No doubt in my mind it was good to go for the first downs. In the red zone we have to do better. We had a chance. It was frustrating to see it turn out like this.
For Alabama, this was another division win, this time with a lot less excitement than the one in College Station, to give them complete confidence that they’re going to have very few problems claiming another division title, another spot in an SEC championship game and probably another national championship game as well. However, Nick Saban is what pushes this team to forget about their superiority, and stop thinking ahead too much.
The second half was when the game really ended, as Alabama ran for 218 yards, including two long touchdown from T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake. Yeldon finished the game with 121 yards on 17 carries, Drake had 99 on 12. As much as Ole Miss managed to make a game of it during the first half through their defense, their defensive line couldn’t hold on for much longer against the huge o-line that the Crimson Tide have that keeps giving them the edge time after time.
At the end of the day, when you’re playing fast-paced teams, all you have to do is get lined up and make plays. When you’re the No. 1 team, everybody’s always trying to find what’s bad about you. But we’re just going to keep getting better.
LSU losing to Georgia gave Alabama another view of just how far the rest of the field is from them. Even if the Tigers put up a fight, their defense is going to be in trouble, while their offense won’t find it so easy to put up 35 points like they’ve been doing in every game this season. Alabama might not be impressive, but that’s only because the insanely high standards they’ve set up over the last couple of seasons.